Updated: Jun 4, 2019
As a novelist, I create characters out of thin air and put them into different situations to tell a story. The more I know about the character, the more believable I can make their reactions. The more believable their reactions, the better the story. By using this same process, I can define your ideal client.
How Do You Create a Funnel?
Don't Chase Every Lead.
You don't want every person who walks through the door, most will cause you more headaches than they are worth. That is the great thing about being self employed - It’s your business, you get to do the work you want, with the clients you want. Yes, money is part of the equation, but you only have so much time to work, don’t fill it up with the wrong thing. Take what you have to in order to pay the bills and leave enough time to fish for the optimal clientele.
Understand your business, product, and service
To determine your ideal market, you will need to completely understand your product, service, and business. I know you think you understand it, however, what I mean is you are able to explain it to everyone, even the ones who may be a little slow on the uptake after smoking too much dope.
What does your business do?
What problems does your product or service solve?
Why should a person buy your product or service?
I am always surprised when a business owner does not know why someone should buy from them and even more shocked, when they don’t know whom they are targeting with their marketing message. Their shotgun approach means they are working too hard for too little.
Know Thyself Grasshopper.
Use the characterization method outlined below. It will help you to understand how you interact with your ideal market and why someone would want to buy from you personally.
It is easier to trust someone when they are like you rather than extremely different. By knowing yourself, you will be able to determine what characteristics in a customer are more likely to result in a positive experiences and referrals.
The Characterization Method
Some characters are based on arch types, which are two dimensional and limited by the expectations of the reader. They are for a certain roles in specific story genres and for the most part, are not based on real people and rarely grow or change.
In some stories the characters feel real, you can relate to them, you understand them and can see yourself being friends with them. They are flawed, learn and grow as the story progresses. These are the well-rounded characters that are created through a process of asking questions, creating back stories, and drawing from people in the real world. This is the kind of process you want to engage in to define your ideal client.
Start by identifying your favourite clients. If you don’t have any yet, think about the kinds of people you get along best with.
Demographics are Not Enough
Let’s start with the easy stuff, the obvious part of target marketing – demographic stats.
These include, age, gender, race, profession, married, single, kids, homeowner, address, and income. Write down the general demographics of your ideal client, then take it one step further by asking why you want to target that age, gender, etc and how will your product or service will help each chosen demographic?
What hobbies does your client have?
Where to they shop?
Where do they like to eat, go for drinks, exercise, and vacation?
Ask all the questions that will tell you what kind of buying habits they have, their recreational choices, and how they value their status or image.
Dig Even Deeper
Which values does your ideal client have?
Values encompass things like, honesty, courage, leadership, and vision. The Internet has lots of lists to help you define a person’s values.
What does your client want most of all?
Wants that are common are, security, fame, adventure, happiness and love. Once again you can do a Google search to come up with a list to help you.
What about your client’s morality or belief system?
Things people passionately stand for are charities, causes, political views, religion, and world order. This is a starting target for your core ideal client, so though you may think this isn’t important, it is, because it will help you identify where to find your clients.
What is the main problem your client has?
This is where your ability to solve that problem comes in. Look deeper into the problem though, why does he have it? How does he communicate that he has it? Does he even know that he has it? When does your client’s problem become so critical they need your solution, yesterday? Is it when they are standing knee deep in water? Understand how this problem fits in your ideal client’s life and what it looks like when he needs your solution.
Don’t get so detailed that you will only target five-foot-nine, blue eyed, blonde haired, bombshells with great bodies. You want to keep your characterization general enough to describe a decent sized group of people. If you find your ideal market is too tight, loosen up your criteria, if it’s too large, tighten up your criteria. This is your ideal market, however, the size of your budget will help determine how large of a market you can afford to broadcast to.
How are you going to get your message out to them?
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Let’s chat about your business and brainstorm ideas about how to tell your story to the marketplace.
If you are in the Vancouver, BC Canada area, let’s have a face to face meeting over coffee to brainstorm.
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Shannon Peel is a Professional Marketing Manager and Storyteller. Her company, MarketAPeel, helps Professionals define their personal brands and tell their story through different channels, including writing their book.